Staples Players gears up for “Godspell”

Greta Bjornson, Staff Writer

At the end of each school year, clubs have their final meetings and many extracurriculars wind down, but Staples Players is an exception. The group is renowned for its high caliber productions, which they not only work on during the academic calendar, but continue to work on into the summer each year. This summer, they will be putting on “Godspell”, a musical by Stephen Schwartz, the writer of  “Wicked”, “Pippin” and “Children of Eden”. It is largely based off of the Gospel of Matthew and incorporates modern music into hymns. The plot centers around a group of students who meet and reenact Jesus Christ’s last days.

The largest factor that differentiates summer shows like “Godspell” from the rest of the Players productions is the rehearsal times. “The overall rehearsal period is shorter, and because of that, we rehearse slightly longer each day,” director David Roth said. They also have a smaller orchestra in the summer and must build a thrust stage, “which allows the show to be more intimate,” according to Roth. The thrust stage extends into the audience and is typically surrounded on three sides.

For the cast, summer shows are different “because it is a camp,” Mikayla Czizik ’17 explained. “It is a little more laid back, yet still extremely productive because we only have four weeks,” she said.  These productions can also be less stressful to participants because they no longer have the added pressure of schoolwork and studying, which “makes the rehearsal process much more laid back,” Zoe Samuels ’17 said.

Not only do the rehearsal times change, but the cast does as well. Freshmen who are interested in Staples theatre often participate over the summer. “The summer productions are great because they give incoming freshmen an opportunity to familiarize themselves with Players before they start at Staples,” Evan Klasky ’15 said. Many Players reflect on the experience as a beneficial and positive one.

“All of the other cast members welcomed me and made me feel a part of Players, so to be able to do the same for the incoming freshmen will be fun,” Czizik said. Summer productions with Players are influential to those who are doing their first show, and the quick rehearsal period and reduced stress level give freshmen a sample of what Staples theatre is like.

Additionally, students from outside of the Westport school system are welcome to join. “It’s really awesome to be able to meet them and I’ve made some lasting friendships,” Noa Wind ’15 said. The summer productions also allow students to continue to pursue their passions even when school is not in session. “It’s a way for us to keep doing what we love over the summer with great people,” Keenan Pucci ’16, another cast member, said.

Cast members are looking forward to performing this musical for its connection to the audience and memorable musical numbers. “I’m expecting this summer show to be a lot of fun,” Samuels said. “‘Godspell’ has great music and is a great crowd pleaser.” Indeed, the show is a fan favorite and received the 1977 Tony award for Best Original Score.

Colin McKechnie ’17 saw the show’s revival on Broadway and wants to recreate ‘The charisma of “Godspell” this summer. “I still remember how it seemed like everyone on the stage was just having the time of their lives and everyone just left the theatre really happy,” he said. “I can’t wait to share that joy with the audience and have a lot of fun on stage with my friends.”

Auditions for “Godspell” are from June 2-4 and the final production will take place from July 23-25 at Staples.